'Unjustified' C-sections declined to 61% in Egyptian ministry hospitals in 2023

Ahram Online , Sunday 26 Mar 2023

Egypt’s Ministry of Health announced on Sunday that there was a significant 61 percent decrease in the number of "unjustified" Caesarean deliveries at ministry-affiliated hospitals during January and February 2023.

A file photo of a newborn. UNICEF


“Egypt was ranked first worldwide in Caesarean sections in 2021, with an average rate of 72 percent, compared to 51.8 percent in 2014, jumping from only 10 percent in 2000,” said Health Ministry Spokesman Hossam Abdel-Ghaffar, quoting the Central Agency for Public Mobilisation and Statistics (CAPMAS).

According to a survey in 2021, the governorates with the highest C-section rates were Port Said, Kafr El-Sheikh and Al-Gharbiya, all with a high ratio of such deliveries in private health facilities.

In response, the Ministry of Health took measures to prevent unjustified Caesarean deliveries in public and private hospitals, including introducing financial incentives for medical teams who perform natural birth operations at higher rates, distributing questionnaires in residential areas on how to encourage pregnant women to undergo natural births along with media and social discussions on the consequences of C-sections.

“The ministry will also introduce legislation granting obstetricians or nurses the right to apply natural birth delivery in cases with inconsequential side effects, aiming to reduce the severe negative results of this procedure which exposes the mother to several risks, including infection of the penetrating placenta, hysterectomy during childbirth and massive obstetric bleeding,” the spokesperson said.

Additionally, the directives aim to eliminate the negative complications on children and future generations as a result of C-sections, including an increase in intestinal bacteria, obesity, allergies, autism, diabetes and immune diseases.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), global C-section rates have risen from around seven percent in 1990 to 21 percent in 2021. The rates are projected to increase over this current decade. If this trend continues, by 2030 East Asia is likely to have the highest rate at 63 percent, followed by Latin America and the Caribbean at 54 percent, Western Asia at 50 percent, Northern Africa at 48 percent, Southern Europe at 47 percent then Australia and New Zealand at 45 percent.

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